West Virginia Senate passes GOP charter school bill

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia Senate has passed a sweeping GOP education bill that would allow the state's first charter schools.

The Republican-controlled chamber approved the proposal Monday. A similar Senate bill had sparked massive teacher protests at the state Capitol. It now goes to Gov. Jim Justice, who supports the measure.

The wide-ranging proposal would allow for a staggered implementation of charter schools, limiting the state to three charters until 2023 then letting three more go up every three years after that. It also contains a pay raise for teachers.

The House passed the bill last week.

Teacher unions and Democrats have opposed the charter school effort, saying it's a move driven by outside interests that will steer money away from public schools.

Republicans have pointed to poor test scores as reason to change the education system.